One year on – rebuilding Türkiye & Syria

6th February marks the first anniversary of the terrible twin earthquakes, which first hit Türkiye and Syria in the early hours of the morning and were followed by numerous aftershocks.

Almost 60,000 people died with thousands more injured. Homes were destroyed and around 1.5 million people were left homeless. An area of around the size of Germany was devastated with roads, schools and hospitals destroyed and agriculture and industry severely impacted, ruining livelihoods.

Almost a year on, those living in the region are still suffering immense hardship and are now enduring another winter without proper homes.

Islam Channel charity partner, Islamic Relief, is on the ground supporting and helping rebuild the lives of those who have been so disastrously affected. Their work was recently given a welcome boost by halal travel specialist, HalalBooking, who visited their London office to present them with a cheque for €200,000.

Tufail Hussain, UK Director of Islamic Relief and Rasha Mahmood, the charity’s Philanthropy and Partnerships Lead, met with HalalBooking’s Chief Marketing Officer, Ufuk Seçgin and Chief Operating Officer, Enver Çebi to receive the donation.

He said: “I want to thank the customers of HalalBooking for their incredible generosity. Alhamdulillah, they have donated almost €100,000 towards our work, which has been matched by HalalBooking itself, making an impressive total of €200,000. This will make a huge difference to families in the region.”

Devastating earthquakes struck on 6th February 2023

The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the joint project. HalalBooking’s donation will finance the building of new homes in Syria as well as helping to rebuild a primary school in Kahramanmaraș in Türkiye. These vital projects will restore hope to the children of the region, allowing them to build their futures.

Türkiye is the world leader in halal-friendly beach resorts and is the destination most visited by HalalBooking‘s customers, so the company wanted to give something back to the country and people who had helped them deliver so many happy holidays.

At the time of launching the appeal to its customers, Elnur Seyidli, CEO of HalalBooking said: “We see it as a duty and an obligation to repay the hospitality of the Turkish people by helping them in their darkest hour, in this time of great need.”

HalalBooking wanted to repay the hospitality of the Turkish people

Last year, Ufuk Seçgin and Tufail Hussain spoke to Islam Channel’s Today Show as they launched the project. Hussain underlined the importance of corporate giving for Muslim businesses:

“Successful corporate organisations have a moral obligation to give back to society. Our beautiful deen tells us that we have to share our wealth so it’s incumbent upon them to do that. Corporate organisations like HalalBooking have loyal customers so any messages that come from them is going to resonate with their customer base and then, of course, you’ve got the benefit of barakah and the values of social responsibility, that ethical approach helps build further trust with customers.”

Seçgin spoke about the devastation in the region, which had prompted the company to launch their fundraising campaign and to pledge to match donations received from their customers. He explained: “We are also human, some of us are of Turkish origin like myself, so we felt morally responsible to do something in this devastating crisis, the scale is unimaginable. Obviously as a company with hundreds of thousands of customers we felt there was an opportunity to take the lead to ask our customers to support us.” He described the response and the generosity of the company’s customers as ‘amazing’.

Find out how your business can follow HalalBooking’s example to make a difference by partnering with Islam Channel’s One Hundred Grains Project, which will take centre stage at the forthcoming Islam Channel Business Awards.


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